Video Games and movies are something that you would think should go hand in hand. The game has a story, and is essentially a storyboard for what could be a film. Things unfortunately don’t seem to be that simple when said game is adapted to the big screen. Sure Resident Evil was able to spawn a successful franchise but what about films like Doom, Super Mario Brother, and Max Pain, or House of the Dead? Those stink. One adaptation of a horror survival game came out in 2006 that not only did well at the box office but was also well liked by fans. The film was Silent Hill, based on the game of the same name. It was a real labor of love from director Chistophe Gans. He wanted to make a film adaptation so badly he sent a video interview of himself pitching the idea, and explaining his love of the games to Konami, who were so impressed they gave him the rights to make the movie. What he made was a very faithful adaptation to the game that plays more as a psychological drama as opposed to a standard horror film.
Silent Hill is an old town that was abandoned many years ago due to a huge coal seam fire. Christopher and Rose De Silva have a young daughter they adopted named Sharon who has nightmares about Silent Hill. These nightmares cause her to sleep walk in an almost catatonic state. Rose is desperate to help their daughter so she decides to take her to Silent Hill to see if they can figure out why she keeps having these dreams. After a run in with a clearly “off” cop Rose sees a little girl walk into her oncoming path and swerves her car to avoid hitting the child. She crashes and is knocked out. When she awakens she finds she is now in some type of alternate reality of the town, one that has lots and lots of fog. Her other problem is that her daughter Sharon is nowhere to be found.
The dimension that Rose is in is full of not only fog, but it switches from empty town, to a town filled with otherworldly monsters. Rose begins seeing the girl who appeared in front of her car. Turns out her name is Alessa. She looks a bit like Sharon, and Rose learns that she was burned by the Brethren many years ago. The Brethren is the town cult that Alessa’s mom ran afoul on causing them to burn her daughter. Now as all of this is happening, in the real world Christopher is searching the town with the local sheriff trying to find his wife and daughter. When he goes to the orphanage that Sharon lived at he finds out that she is the one who saved Alessa from being burned to death, thus explaining the connection between the two. The sheriff who knows of the towns history tries convincing Christopher to give up his search, while Rose with the help of Alessa try to save Sharon, who they find out has been taken by the Brethren cult.
Hallucinogenic Nightmare is the best way to describe Silent Hill. Filmed very grey and foggy, and also dark this film is what true atmospheric horror should be. There is blood, and of course the random jump scares but the setting and tone really drive the horror home. The town in the real world is creepy enough. Empty, smoke filled, hazy, but the alternate world is nightmarish beyond belief. Monsters, shadows, demons, disfigured people is very unsettling to say the least. The third (close to final part) act takes place in an old hospital where we see Rose chased by blind disfigured nurses that she must sneak past to survive. Its not only scary, but plays out like a stealth level of a game. Is the film like game, yes it really is. Sure liberties are taken as you don’t want a 6hr film, but people watching that are fans of the games will enjoy this as well as horror fans looking for a frightening time.
Scream Factory is releasing this in a nice collectors set and I have to say the transfer is absolutely gorgeous. You can literally see the mist coming from the smoke/fog in the background. Everything looks so realistic and clear it only adds to the scare elements. The films score, which is very well done echoes from the surround sound transfer. This film is all about the atmosphere and this amazing transfer just puts an exclamation point on that fact. Aside from the great looking cover art its also loaded with special features.
· HD Master Approved By Director Christophe Gans
NEW Audio Commentary With Cinematographer Dan Laustsen
· Theatrical Trailer
· NEW Interview With Director Christophe Gans
· NEW A Tale Of Two Jodelles – An Interview With Actress Jodelle Ferland
· NEW Dance Of The Pyramid – An Interview With Actor Roberto Campanella
· NEW Interview With Makeup-Effects Artist Paul Jones
· Path Of Darkness: The Making of Silent Hill – A Six-Part Documentary
· The Making Of Silent Hill Vintage Featurette
· On Set Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
· Photo Galleries – Still Photos And Posters
This is a really great creepy film that horror fans, and fans of psychological drama will both enjoy. It holds true to the game, but if you have never played you won’t be lost. This transfer that Scream Factory has done only makes the film better. So if your looking for a good scare with good story, pacing, and acting pick this one up and add it to your collection.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars